How To Write a Literary Analysis Essay

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Naturally, writing an analysis of a piece of writing will significantly improve your understanding of that write-up. However, this write-up doesn’t always have to be an academic paper; it can also be a creative piece of writing like a work of literature.

A literary analysis, regardless of the theme of the subject text, is likely to provide more depth and context regarding its plot, events, characters, and other relevant elements of the piece. 

A literary analysis forces you to break up a comprehensive piece into smaller parts and explain those parts in depth. Writing a solid literary analysis is an important skill, but it takes practice and theoretical knowledge. 

This write-up will explain how to write a literary analysis and structure it. But, before we go deeper into how to write a literary analysis essay, it is essential to know what the phrase “literary analysis essay” means.

What Exactly Is A Literary Analysis Essay

A literary analysis is an essay that critically looks into and evaluates a specific part of a piece or passage or the whole work.

It usually looks at things like character growth, plot twists, the order of events, and the setting to help the reader understand what the author was trying to do and how well they did it. To be able to write a literary analysis, you need to be able to read and think critically.

Also, you must remember that the goal of a literary analysis is not to summarise the whole work or give an opinion on it as a summary or review does. Instead, it is to discuss important parts of the text to figure out how the piece of literature works. You may wonder what important things should be added to or omitted from your analysis essay. Read on to find out more.

What Should A Literary Analysis Contain?

While there is no single set of elements that one must include in literary analysis, some common features are usually helpful and insightful when included. The piece’s focus will usually be determined by the nature of the work being examined. The following are the common elements that you should include (or at least consider) when writing a literature analysis:

  • The genre and type of literature under consideration
  • A comprehensive examination of the main characters
  • An outline of the plot of the work, as well as the main ideas presented in the piece
  • A summary of the overall theme of the text under consideration
  • A breakdown of the symbolism and philosophies found in the piece
  • An examination of the structure of the work and the writing style used to create it

Now that you know what to put in your literary analysis writing, the next step is understanding how to combine these elements. There are some common types of literary analysis, and we’ll explain them next:

Common Ways To  Analyse A Piece Of Writing

Literary analysis requires a deep understanding of the literary work and a clear idea of what should be done next. There is no one way to do it. You only need to follow the ideas and interests that led you to do your analysis. But there are five general ways to go about writing literary analysis:

  1. The Theoretical Approach: This type of analysis usually focuses on putting one or more theories about the piece on it and figuring out how they connect to each other. In a theoretical literary analysis, you would look at the author’s points of view through these theories.
  1. Close reading: This is a way to look closely at a piece of writing to find small details and nuances that are important but might not seem like much at first. This analysis can help you understand more about how the author used language, certain parts of certain scenes, and other details you might miss on a first read.
  1. Applied: An applied analysis is a personal essay that looks at how different parts of the piece work relative to your own life and unique experiences.
  1. Comparative/Synergistic: A comparative analysis places the literary work in a broader perspective by explicitly comparing it to other similar writings or other works by the same author. A synergistic study, on the other hand, examines the relationship between two or more literary works.
  1. Contextual or Historical: The goal of a literary analysis that takes a contextual or historical approach is to zero in on aspects of the text that are unrelated to the text itself, such as the historical background or the social peculiarities of the period and location in which the story takes place.

Next, we will discuss how to begin and write a literary analysis. At UwriterPro, we know how critical your essays and writing are to your academic and career success. 

However, it can be challenging to cope with all the external pressure and struggles that your university, college, family and personal life throw at you. We are here to help you all the way, even with an examination of a piece of literature. We’re just a call away!

How To Write An Analysis Of A Piece of Literature

If you ever need to produce a comprehensive and pertinent literary analysis, you should follow these five steps:

  1. Examine the piece of written literature: You first need to give the piece a thorough reading, preferably more than once. You have to become familiar with the work in its entirety, including its central concept, plot, characters, and the manner in which the author conveys particular ideas and points of view. 

Discovering the most memorable parts of the text, determining the author’s style, and tracking how the characters evolve over the course of the piece should be the primary goals of this activity.

  1. Compile supporting evidence for your thesis: After properly getting acquainted with the work in question, the next stage is to gather evidence that supports the points you have presented. Finding sections in the text that support your thoughts is necessary to construct an argument that is convincing for them. To get evidence, you may need to examine the entire story. This could be difficult, even for shorter, more minor works. Here is a breakdown of story elements to help you know where to look.
  1. Plot: All of the work’s events and actions, i.e., how the story goes and where it leads. 
  2. Characters in a literary work are the people who act out the scenes. You may be used to terms like main characters, protagonist, antagonist and supporting characters.
  3. Conflict: The work’s primary cause of anxiety. Most of the time, the protagonist desires something, while opposing forces (antagonists) obstruct the protagonist’s progress. 
  4. Setting: This is when and where the story happens. Location, period, time of day, weather, social atmosphere, and economic conditions are all setting elements. 
  5. Narrator: The individual who is telling the story. The narrator may simply report what happens, convey one or more characters’ subjective opinions and perceptions, or provide commentary and belief in their own voice. 
  6. Themes are the work’s main ideas or messages—usually abstract ideas about people, society, or life in general. A piece may contain multiple themes that are at odds with one another. 

On the other hand, style elements differ from story elements; they are unique to the author or genre. They are usually how the characters communicate, how the story is told, and how language is used. Some of them are:

  1. Organisation and structure: This is how the work’s components are put together. Some novels are told in a linear, chronological order, whereas others jump around in time. 

Some plays have a three- or five-act structure, while others are a collection of loosely connected scenes. Some authors purposefully leave gaps in their works, leaving readers to fill in the blanks. 

The structure and organisation of a work of literature can reveal a lot about the message it wishes to convey. 

  1. The point of view(POV): The point of view from which a story is told. In a first-person narrative, the narrator becomes involved in the story. (“I went grocery shopping”; “We watched in horror as the bird smashed into the window.”) 

A first-person narrator is typically the protagonist of the work, but this is not always the case. The narrator does not participate in the story when told in the third person. 

A third-person narrator may follow a specific character closely, recounting that character’s thoughts or experiences, or it may be an omniscient narrator. 

God’s eye narrators see and know everything: they can witness any event at any time or place and access all characters’ inner thoughts and feelings. Keep in mind that the narrator and the author are not the same people! 

  1. Diction/Word selection: The use of dry, clinical language versus flowery prose with lots of exclamation points can reveal a lot about a character’s attitude and personality. 
  1. Syntax: This is basically sentence structure and word order.

 It is an integral part of developing an author’s narrative voice. Ernest Hemingway, for example, is known for writing in short, simple sentences, whereas James Joyce is known for writing in long, intricate lines. 

  1. Tone: The text’s mood or feeling. The tone of a work is frequently influenced by diction and syntax. A novel written in short, clipped sentences with small, simple words could come across as brusque, cold, or matter-of-fact.
  1. Imagery is a language that represents things that can be seen, smelled, heard, tasted, or touched.
  1. Figurative expressions are a language that is not intended to be taken literally. Metaphors and similes are the most common types of figurative language, which compare two, unlike things to suggest a similarity between them—for example, “The sun smiled at him,” or “The chair folded him like a sandwich.”
  1. Sketch out your ideas in broad strokes: To begin the actual process of writing a literary analysis, you must first compose a synopsis of the complete examination of the piece of work that you will be discussing. This will serve as a structure for your study, helping to make it more coherent while also ensuring that it remains focused on the point you are attempting to convey. 
  1. Come up with a thesis statement. The next thing to do is develop a powerful thesis statement, which should be able to successfully relate the ideas and implementations of the author of the work to the points made in your analysis.

Your thesis should explain how and why your thoughts are significant to gaining a grasp of the piece of literature being discussed.

  1. Complete the analysis writing: The final step after creating the outline and formulating the thesis entails getting started on the actual analysis. 

Therein, it would be best if you organised each paragraph to support a particular topic and present the progression of those ideas in a fashion that is logical to the reader. It would be best if you revised your literary analysis to account for any inaccuracies when you have finished writing it.

If you’re already getting cold feet about writing your analysis outline or essay, don’t worry, we are still with you. Our experts UwriterPro are waiting for your requests.

The Structure Of A Literary Analysis Essay Outline

The following are the most important components of a literary analysis essay: 

  • The Introduction/Introductory Paragraph: Your literary analysis’s introductory sentences should provide the reader with an overview of the critique’s context and its objectives. 

It should include essential information, such as the author’s name, the piece’s title, and a thematic statement that shows the overarching goal your analysis seeks to express. 

In addition, it should contain a conclusion that summarises your findings and draws conclusions. You should include a thesis statement at the end of the introduction. This statement should explain why the analysis is relevant and what issues it intends to address. 

  • The Main Body: This is the most critical and extensive literary analysis section, and it should begin with a statement that immediately connects to the thesis. 

Through quotations and rhetoric, the primary purpose of this section is to respond to the questions you presented regarding the work and to investigate how the author implemented the approaches you stated in your thesis. 

It ought to conclude with a powerful remark that bolsters the argument throughout the analysis.

  • The Conclusion/Concluding paragraph: The paragraph that serves as the conclusion to the literary analysis should explain the thesis of the analysis and demonstrate how the concepts discussed in the body of the analysis are accurate. 

You should summarise your primary ideas in the concluding paragraph and emphasise the significance of your points.

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